Inset at top right is an artist's depiction of the REACH hub
Roscrea has been given a huge vote of confidence with the announcement of a new €2.5m business hub which is expected to create 192 jobs in the next three years.
On Monday, the North Tipperary Development Company, and property investment and management company Tiernan Properties, said they were “delighted to announce the establishment of an enterprise and community hub for Roscrea.”
Roscrea Enterprise and Community Hub (REACH) CLG, is “a multiagency and community initiative” and has been established to develop the state-of-the-art hub in Roscrea through the repurposing and transformation of the former town shopping centre.
REACH, which will be education and learning focused, will have an employment creation target of 192 “high impact jobs” within three years, said a spokesperson.
It will have an estimated annual economic benefit of €8 million every year, breathing new life into Roscrea town centre.
The 11,450 sqft commercial unit has been vacant since 2011 but will be transformed into an enterprise, education and community innovation hub with the fastest connectivity through 1 gigabit broadband connection.
Some 75% of the funding for the €2.5 million project will come from the rural regeneration development fund, with Tipperary Co Council also ratifying a €225,000 contribution at its members’ meeting of September 9.
The need for a “dynamic project” such as this that has the potential to deliver huge economic and employment benefits for Roscrea in the medium to long term, said Michael Murray, CEO of the North Tipperary Development Company.
“Roscrea is a proud town with a lot of potential but, regrettably, the town and hinterland suffer from multi-faceted disadvantage,” he said.
“Of the 175 electoral divisions in County Tipperary, Roscrea is in the top 10% in terms of deprivation and there is little or no evidence of recovery locally, with the town gripped, in particular, by stubborn unemployment.
“So, it is clear that not alone is an intervention needed for Roscrea but that education must be at its core. “We believe that REACH can be the difference and will act as a catalyst for the recovery that is long overdue in Roscrea.”
In addition to the employment and economic boost the centre will deliver for Roscrea, an estimated 500 learners will achieve skills attainment at the centre each year. REACH will comprise 45 workstations supporting up to 116 jobs as well as 16 work studios that will support a further 48 to 64 jobs. There will also be provision of shared services to all resident businesses.
Michael Tiernan, of Tiernan Properties, which owns the centre, stated: “This facility has been idle for eight years and the vacancy was probably at the worst possible time for Roscrea, which was disproportionately affected in the downturn and has not enjoyed any real benefit from the recovery. REACH will be a game-changer in that respect as it will be both an employment and educational hub and we are delighted to have arrived at this juncture.
“This could not have been achieved without an incredible spirit of partnership and we are particularly grateful to the North Tipperary Development Company, Tipperary County Council, local politicians and other stakeholders who have come together to make this happen. While Roscrea and its hinterland can rightly feel neglected over the past decade or more, these stakeholders have come together to create a brighter future for everyone in this fine town.”
He continued: “One of the best ways to tackle unemployment in the long term is to invest in education and skills now. I have seen this happen and been involved in it elsewhere so I firmly believe this is a win-win for Roscrea and its hinterland. From a practical and cost perspective, everything stacks up as well as the project will cost 60% less than developing it on a new or green field site.
“Also, by having 1 Gigabit Broadband connection, REACH will be able to provide leading internet connectivity delivered via the State’s MAN infrastructure.